Why we believe this project is relevant
There is a huge gap between supply and demand of skills in the labour market in Europe. It is expected that is gap will continue to grow over the next years, especially in the green sector. Many current jobs disappear and new jobs that do not yet exist will emerge. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about to create a shift in the skill sets required of workers in green jobs.
These expectations are based on research including Cedefop, 2015: 'Skill shortages and gaps in European enterprises'; International Labour Organization, 2014: 'Skills Mismatch in Europe'; World Economic Forum, 2016: 'The Future of Jobs'; 2016 European Semester of the EU's growth strategy 'Europe 2020').
Transformation of labour
The skill sets required in both old and new occupations will transform how and where people work. This means:
- the creation of additional jobs e.g. in pollution control;
- substitution of employment e.g. in the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy;
- elimination of jobs e.g. in the manufacturing or packaging materials;
- transformation of existing jobs e.g. through the greening of profiles and working methods.
Let us illustrate how jobs in the agribusiness sector are currently transforming, asking for new sets of skills:
- Water boards are experimenting with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 3D-scanning, stereo photography, infrared sensors, and ground radars as modern additions to the visual inspection of dikes and other forms of water management.
- Innovative farming technologies that combine horticultural lighting with plant biology allow crops to grow without sunlight in indoor environments close to or within cities. City farms with multi-layer systems based on LED lighting provide a sustainable, reliable way to grow fruit and vegetables. This farming method leads to higher yields, less waste and maximum nutrition.
- After the transition from tie-stall barns to free-stall barns, another change has taken place with the implementation of automated milking robots. These robots provide cow-related information that's hard to gather in a conventional situation. Thanks to the connection between forage and production data, dairy farmers can manage cows on an individual level.
- Foresters may soon plant trees using automated planting drones carrying seed pods that fly one metre above the ground, following a pre-determined planting pattern, and fire germinated seeds into the soil.
Strengthening human capital
This is particularly important for the 68 million people in the European Union with skills on lower and middle EQF levels. They are probably the most vulnerable when in comes to succesfully lifelong learning, to get a new profession, perhaps even switch to another sector of work.
With the New Skills Agenda for Europe, launched in 2016, the European Commission proposes to bridge the skills gap and address three specific topics:
- providing the skills the economy needs;
- making skills transparent for employers;
- understanding the skills needs of tomorrow.